A Photometric Approach to Digitizing Cultural Artifacts
A Photometric Approach to Digitizing Cultural Artifacts
2nd International Symposium on Virtual Reality, Archaeology, and Cultural Heritage
Tim Hawkins     Jonathan Cohen     Paul Debevec
USC Institute for Creative Technologies




In this paper we present a photometry-based approach to the digital documentation of cultural artifacts. Rather than representing an artifact as a geometric model with spatially varying reflectance properties, we instead propose directly representing the artifact in terms of its reflectance field -- the manner in which it transforms light into images. The principal device employed in our technique is a computer-controlled lighting apparatus which quickly illuminates an artifact from an exhaustive set of incident illumination directions and a set of digital video cameras which record the artifact's appearance under these forms of illumination. From this database of recorded images, we compute linear combinations of the captured images to synthetically illuminate the object under arbitrary forms of complex incident illumination, correctly capturing the effects of specular reflection, subsurface scattering, self-shadowing, mutual illumination, and complex BRDF's often present in cultural artifacts. We also describe a computer application that allows users to realistically and interactively relight digitized artifacts.



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Two of the Reflectance Fields from this paper, "George" and "Headdress", are available for download at the interactive reflectance field demo web page.